Vets Warn A Rise In Cat Poisonings From Deadly Flowers


cat poisoning from lily flower


28 November 2018

With summer festivities fast approaching it’s more important than ever to keep pets safe!

Many pet owners keep toxic foods (i.e. chocolate) from paw’s reach but often forget the dangers blooming in their gardens or floral arrangements.

According to pet health insurance product provider PetSure, 340 cats have been treated for lily toxicity in the past five years. Unfortunately, not all pet poisoning cases come up roses, explained Dr Leigh Davidson, Veterinarian and Director of YourVet Online, Australia’s only 24/7 online veterinary telehealth service.

“An increasing number of pets are being poisoned by plants, and sadly, not all survive,” said Dr Leigh. “The top three poisonous plants I see are the Lily; Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (Brunfelsia) and Sago Palm (Cycad).”

Minke, a 4-year-old house cat in Brisbane, Qld, nearly died recently after being poisoned by Easter Lilies. Minke’s owner Elle Shearer-O’Brien, who works in hospitality, would often bring home flower arrangements containing lilies. But it was her neighbour’s property, which contained a large amount of the deadly flower, that ultimately poisoned Minke. Fortunately, Elle noticed her behaviour changing and quickly sought veterinary advice.

“All parts of the lily are toxic to cats including the flowers, leaves, pollen, bulbs and even the vase water,” warned Dr Leigh. “Sometimes, a cat will ingest a part of a lily and may experience some initial vomiting which then stops. Often, the cat will seem normal or maybe a little depressed. However, by 24 to 48 hours, damage to the kidneys has started.”

Cats that ingest any part of a lily suffer from acute kidney damage – their kidneys shut down and stop functioning. “Many cats cannot be saved unless aggressive treatment is started immediately,” said Dr Leigh.

Costly Treatment, Lucky To Be Alive

Treatment involves intensive fluid therapy, ultrasound examinations, blood and urine testing. The costs of veterinary treatment for lily poisoning can be in the thousands, Dr Leigh added.

Like many pet owners, Elle didn’t know that lilies were toxic to cats and when she reached out to other pet owners online, she realised just how many didn’t know either.

“It’s important that pet owners are aware how deadly these flowers can be to cats. Minke is lucky to be alive!” said Dr Leigh.

Thankfully, Minke pulled through her ordeal and is now recuperating at home. She will require ongoing blood tests and will need to be fed a special diet to help her kidneys function, said Dr Leigh.

“By sharing Minke’s story, pet lovers will hopefully be more careful about the kinds of flowers and plants they keep in their homes and gardens,” she said. “I also encourage garden centres and florists to introduce pet owner education protocols to help prevent pet poisonings.”


For more information on lily poisoning in cats, check out Dr Leigh’s article and watch a video on the Your Vet Online website. Dr Leigh also has free downloadable information and pictures for ten of the most common poisonous plants found in the garden.

inforgraphic warning of the risks of lily toxicity in cats

Dr Leigh Davidson
info @yourvetonline. com

About Your Vet Online

Your Vet Online is Australia’s only 24/7 online veterinary telehealth service. Our vets help provide people who have a problem with their pet or horse the care and answers they need.

Animal owners who need advice but don’t have a veterinarian can speak with one of our Australian-registered vets immediately. Otherwise, if in the mood for learning, we have a large collection of vet-authored content.

In operation since 2015, Dr Leigh Davidson started Your Vet Online to help improve access to veterinarians so that animals and their owners didn’t suffer. Your Vet Online works closely with veterinary clinicians all over Australia to improve knowledge of animal health with the public.

To discover more about Your Vet Online, visit

About Dr Leigh Davidson

Dr Leigh Davidson BVSc, BApplSc has more than 18 years of experience as a veterinarian working with small animals, horses, farm animals and as a technical consultant for pharmaceutical companies.

Dr Leigh enjoys promoting responsible animal health care via the Your Vet Online social media channels where her following can get access to her for questions and answers. Dr Leigh is available for media and sponsorship opportunities. END —

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